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April 20th, 2005

Big Wheels

No doubt here: Big Wheels were the most fantastic things I grew up with. They were always fun… until you wore holes into the plastic tires, which meant it was time to upgrade.

Coincidentally the model shown in that photo is the one I had growing up, until it died. It was replaced by a sleek black model. And for a nice tie-in to show where my priorities were, sometimes I’d take the Big Wheel and put it on its seat. I’d then draw in numbers on the big wheel’s surface (“treads”) to match… yes, the Big Wheel from The Price is Right. Then my friends and me would compete to see who would hit $1.00 without going over! Good times, good times.

Posted in Childhood Memories

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday April 20, 2005 -- 9:10:18 am
That is the best use of a Big Wheel I've ever heard. Outstanding!

I think I hear Dave Walls running to Toys R Us to buy a Big Wheel a recreate TPIR wheel in his room. I suspect he's already got a mock Plinko set up.



FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday April 20, 2005 -- 10:07:31 am
For the record, I've still got that old homemade Plinko board, although it needs some attention.

As for the homemade TPiR wheel.......I'm drooling at the mere thought of it. I've had this crazy notion of building my own TPiR wheel anyways, since I saw the Price is Right Live Show at the Showboat in Atlantic City (which should be a Pinger field trip!!!). Now if I can just get my hands on some Big Wheels.......



FROM: heather
DATE: Wednesday April 20, 2005 -- 10:46:35 am
what, no flipping it over and turning the pedals to make ice cream?



FROM: Joseph
DATE: Wednesday April 20, 2005 -- 11:21:28 am
I didn't get a lot of toys when I was a kid. I believe I had to ask for two or three years (seemed like it anyway) until I finally got my Big Wheel.

But instead of the actual Marx Big Wheel, I got competitor Empire's Super American Hot Cycle, which was decked out for the 1976 Bicentennial.

Everyone hated it at first because it didn't look like the ones all the other kids had--you know kids.

I finally convinced them that mine was faster. I thought I had a stroke of genius. But then, everyone wanted to ride it and it finally broke under the strain. The big front wheel popped off and that was it.

Life moved on to cobbling bicycles together from junk parts so I could play chicken with the older kids.



FROM: laurie
DATE: Wednesday June 22, 2005 -- 7:07:25 am
Heather, your comment on turning it over and turning the wheels to make ice cream brought back memories, I use to do that, except not with a big wheel, they didn't have those when I was a child, I used my tricyle (s/p?) to do that.



FROM: thomas
DATE: Saturday September 24, 2005 -- 1:59:48 pm
I'm searching for information on the Cheetah, a kids riding toy. It looked like a "chopper" tricycle. It had a small tire in the front and two wide tires in the back. From memory, it seems to have been some sort of ratchet pumped chain drive that selectively locked in when both pedals were pushed. The seat was low to the ground, like the Big Wheel. The Cheetah was manufactured in the early 1970s and I think it was yellow or red. I am trying to find information whatever information I can; photograph, manufacturer, dimensions, parts, etc. Any help is much appreciated!



FROM: Young
DATE: Monday November 21, 2005 -- 6:30:20 pm
I had a Cheetah and it rocked. All the other kids had big wheels some the standard yellow body and I think there were a few girl models on my block too. The Cheetah dusted them all, by FAR. It was both Yellow and Red, and I too have checked the web for pics because I'd love to get my hands on one (although I'm probably too big for one now) ;).

PS, I've searched my photo album and no pics of it unfortunately.

If you do find something, please contact me at yleedezign@hotmail.com


Thanks and good luck!



Bill October 27, 2006, 8:35 pm

I have a front view of 2 Cheetahs with my 3 and 5 year-old boys made in 1974

keith October 31, 2006, 5:33 am

The Cheetah was made by Lakeside Toys of Barrel-of-Monkies fame. My grandmother worked for Lakeside in the early 1970s and as a result I ended up being one of the product test dummies for the Cheetah. I have a photograph of me riding it in 1973, so I assume that’s when the Cheetah was first produced. Mine was a prototype and as I recall my Dad had to frequently repair the ratcheting mechanisms which were the Cheetah’s propulsion mechanism.

Compared to the Big Wheel, Green Machine, and other contemporary riding toys the Cheetah was surely more expensive to manufacture and more susceptible to break-down. But when it worked, man did it work ๐Ÿ™‚

John Atwood October 31, 2006, 11:46 pm

My two boys had Cheetahs in 1974 when they were 3 and 5 yrs old. Boy would they fly! I have a picture (front view) of them on their Cheetahs. We only had minor mechanical problems and finally gave them to neiaghbor’s children as mine grew older. Is Lakeside defunct? Someone could make a mint with the reintro of this toy.

J. Mannion November 1, 2006, 2:44 pm

I am hooked.

I linked to this site via MyHq and as I looked around this site contains a lot of good articles. Well done everyone.

Big Wheels. Oh yes, my three sons were about age five through eight when Big Wheels were the rage. Now I don’t know if it was love of lapse of logic which prompted me to buy each one of them a Big Wheel? However, here are my memories of Big Wheels.

We had a very long concrete patio which ran the length of the house on the South side. Covered, of course, and the ideal “speedway” under any weather conditions. The boys would run along the patio and hook a “U” at the end. My home office was at that end and it was like a hundred drummers were outside the window.

I am a tolerant and patient type guy, so I suffered through my error but gave careful consideration to toys after that mistake.

Thanks for the memories.

Jonas Mannion

Note: I am showing a half dozen postings when I hit preview. Is this normal?

Ryan November 1, 2006, 3:41 pm

Note: I am showing a half dozen postings when I hit preview. Is this normal?

Long story, but yes. ๐Ÿ™‚

J. Mannion November 1, 2006, 3:45 pm

Thanks, I thought it might have to do with the Nvu program which occasionally gets a little silly.

Jonas

Cella February 13, 2007, 4:42 am

I can’t believe I finally found other people who remember the Cheetah. My sister and I shared a red one and wore it into the ground. I seem to recall that the seat disintegrated before the mechanics did, and we still managed to ride it. We had a very long driveway, so we were able to get up some good speed and great skids. For as hard as we rode it, I don’t recall either of us ever getting hurt playing on it. It was definitely the early-to-mid 70’s. Good times. I would love to find a picture of it online somewhere, especially an ad.

Alesandro February 21, 2007, 3:53 am

I recently found some old pictures of myself riding my beloved Cheetah and tried to find more information online, and came across this site.

I got mine for Christmas 1973 and have 3 pictures (2 front view, 1 side view). The seat is red with a yellow racing stripe, and cheetah decals on the side. It has yellow plastic mag wheels on the rear, and a chrome sissy bar on the back. The front chopper had a spoked narrow rubber wheel and the “tree” (I think that’s what you call it) is yellow with a decal that says ” ELDON” in red over a checkered flag. The “O” is raised higher than the rest of the lettering.

I used to take great pride blowing away the other kids on their inferior “big wheels.” I had mine for a few years; however, don’t remember what ultimately happened to mine, but I recall the petal drive cables broke at some point. I’m sure my father eventually threw it out.

Young April 27, 2007, 6:16 am

BILL, Keith and Alesandro,

Please, if you can, put the pictures on flickr or online service where you can share pictures, PLEASE?

It would be awesome to see them. OR, please shoot me an email @ yleedezign@hotmail.com.

Thanks and best!

Joe May 2, 2007, 2:21 pm

I am sooo glad I found info on the Cheetah here!!! For a variety of reasons (all noble), I am trying to find information on its cable-driven propulsion that I so enjoyed when I was a kid. Is there a way I can get copies of those pictures? Even better, anyone know what happeneed to Lakeside toys? I would love to get my hands on a schematic. I haven’t started to search that, so maybe someone here can help me cut to the chase. It would be even better if I could get my hands on a Cheetah. I remember fondly outracing my big-wheeled playmates in the neighborhood. I eventually outgrew it (I was too tall to fit in the bright orange banana seat anymore), and we had to monitor the trashmen so that none of the kids in the neighborhood stole it – cause that would make the others jealous IIRC. I remember having to re-wrap those cables on occasion, but that thing beat the Big Wheel and Green Machine hands down!!!
Any help, guys? Thanks(especially copies of those pictures!!)
– Joe Lobarwilder@AOL.com
Lewisville, TX

Mike Berry July 25, 2007, 8:55 pm

My email is michaelberry67@yahoo.com. Please send me scans (or a picture of a picture) of any Cheetahs. They most be all gone. we rode the heck out of them. so many riding toys you can find of other eras… not ours!!

sigh

Mike

Renee July 30, 2007, 3:36 pm

I loved my Cheetah too! I also am looking for pictures of one — actually, my mother has been looking for pictures. I don’t seem to have any from my childhood, which we can’t figure out at all. We can’t imagine that pictures wouldn’t have been taken of my favorite toy! If any of you who have posted that you have pictures are still following this post, could you please, please, please email your pictures of the Cheetah to me?
reneevanv@bellsouth.net

rand August 14, 2007, 8:45 pm

My younger brother had a Cheetah and it was the fastest ride ever. I could smoke kids on Big Wheels and every other type of pedal vehicle, even beat kids on bikes. I wore that baby out. Busted the cables. Loved it though. My younger brother wasn’t much into riding it or bikes so Mom and Dad got it for him one Christmas. Since he didn’t ride it, it was like I had my bike and the secret weapon Cheetah. Never has a more apt name been affixed to a product. I would love to have one for my five year old.

Dawson September 6, 2007, 3:22 am

I had a Cheetah growing up in the 70’s as well. I can confirm that this was the fastest thing on the block at that age because my friends on their bikes were unstable and were always shocked at getting beat by my “tricycle”. Forget racing the Big Wheel. It was no contest for my Cheetah. I am also looking for pictures of this unit or even if there is a manufacturer who is still or willing to make it again. It would be great for my daughter.

Jerry September 8, 2007, 6:08 pm

Hi all:

Just to let eveyone know, I do have a vintage Eldon Cheetah available. It is pretty good shape and is still totally rideable. It is one cool item. Any interest in it?

CobraT1 September 18, 2007, 4:03 am

Hi Jerry,

I’m interested. Do you have any photos?

alfred September 26, 2007, 6:49 pm

Crazy, I had a Cheetah as a kid too. I’ve never come across anyone else who had actually heard of one. Man, do I miss that ride.

mike October 14, 2007, 11:37 pm

Any links to cheetah pics (or the tv ad) would be greatly appreciated.

Joe October 26, 2007, 6:48 pm

Jerry very interested about the vintage Cheetah you have
Have you sold it yet? I would like to purchase still available. Please let me know @ jj_white12@hotmail.com

Thanks

MonkeyDudeSF October 30, 2007, 7:47 am

here’s a
pic of my cheetah from the 70s. Enjoy!

I remember it pretty much the same way everyone else does. The best damn thing on 3 wheels I ever knew. ๐Ÿ™‚

Shawn November 30, 2007, 5:18 am

I had a Cheetah in the 70’s. I remember seeing the comercials of the kid slamming the pedals and spinning a 720 to a stop. It’s all I could think about for months, I Had to have one! So I begged my mom for Christmas and asked Santa (he was a little confused about my Cheetah request). That Christmas I didn’t get it, I was expecting it to be under the tree, but no Cheetah. I was bumed, and mopped around for a few days. But my birthday was a few days away so I had a second chance. I discovered it on my birthday when I went downstairs and found my older brother screwing it together. I remember it clearly because I flipped-out and started screeming, and I guess he was startled because he slipped the screwdriver into his index finger! He started screeming too. That Cheetah was the best thing ever! Like everyone remembers, it was fast! I had no trouble keeping up with my brothers Stingray, and could go miles on the thing. It could be considered the first recumbent bycycle. I actualy burned-out the drive mechanism on it within a couple weeks, so my mom to it back and argued with the store manager to give us a new one (in those days taking stuff back for exchange or a refund wasn’t easy). I got the second one, which was great because the hard plastic wheels were new (I had smoked the wheels on the first one from so many spins, they had flat spots). About that time they paved a new culdesac next to our home. It was kind of a clover shape cudesac with a slight slope to it. My cheetah would screem on that new pavement, I’m sure I got up to 25mph on the thing! I went so fast with the pedals that the return spring in the wheel hub broke. My dad was able to fix it, but it was never the same. If I went anywhere near fast, the drive cables would slip off the spring hub, and he would have to fix it again. I still rode it around and all the kids thought it was the coolest. Eventually, my mom backed over the front forks and wheel with the car. My brother straightened out the forks, but the wheel was bent like a potato chip! I still rode it even then, but it looked more like a clown vehicle at this point. Anyway, I’ve been looking on the net for any trace of the Cheetah, and came across this site. I would like to find a picture too, or even better, a working Cheetah. I don’t know why they don’t bring this back.

Thomas December 18, 2007, 2:33 am

I made a blog for The Cheetah…

http://cheetahridingtoy.blogspot.com

“I was developing an email list of Cheetah afficienados (pretty much us kids that had one). My old laptop crashed and I lost the list. Please email me if you’re one of those folks and let me know if you have any pictures (a couple of folks sent me some great ones)!”

Leann December 21, 2007, 5:33 pm

Hi Jerry,
I’m interested in the Cheetah you have for sale if still available. Please send me info a darbow11@netzero.net.

Thanks!

Black Sarge December 30, 2007, 8:49 am

Whoa!!!,

You just don’t know!!! I had a Yellow one with the cheetah on the side, with red in the back. Pls if you have pictures send it to me at this e-mail address robisonline2@yahoo.com. Not only did I annihilate big wheels, green machines, tricles or any other three wheeled toys. The big boys on bicycles couldn’t out-run me. I grew up in the Ghetto of Washinton D.C. “Valley Green” Projects. I was the only kid to have a “Cheetha” for miles. Nobody in my school had ever heard of it. The kids from all over came over to race me. I was racing 6th graders and destroyed them all. “I WAS A LEGEND!!!” Big Playground respect. Bring it back if you want to set the kid in you free. Pay homage to a legend… The Cheetah.

Keith February 15, 2008, 1:57 pm

Hello Jerry, I know I’m alittle late but do you still have the Cheetah? If so please let me know. Thanks Keith

keith February 15, 2008, 7:10 pm

Jerry, let me know if it still available. Thanks Keith

John Surette March 9, 2008, 11:56 am

I have a Cheetah – pulled it out of my dad’s basement 2 weeks ago. My one and a half year old thinks it is his motorcycle. It has been indoors for 30 years – just the stickers are a little dull, but it runs like brand new…how do I post photos of it here?

Joe April 14, 2008, 2:16 am

John, Jerry, BILL, Keith and Alesandro, CobraT1, Joe, LeAnn, Black Sarge Rob, …

I posted earlier this year, desperately trying to figure out how the Cheetah’s drive mechanism worked. Since then TWO of them have been located !!! I just want to LOOK AT one if I can’t convince someone to sell me one. BUT I WILL BUY ONE IF GIVEN THE CHANCE!!!
Those of you who may have gobbled up the two which were found, if they are still intact, could the new owners please contact me? Please? Skaldern@Yahoo.com since my AOL account is rarely used. Specifically I want to know how the drive mechanism worked…

And I also wold sure like some company to manufacture them again; much easier than my trying to build one…

Many thanks to any & all

– Joe, Lewisville TX
Skaldern@Yahoo.com

dan karr April 16, 2008, 6:57 pm

heres a pic of me on my cheetah circa 1973-1976 era probably about 3-6 year old at the time

Paul May 13, 2008, 10:58 pm

My parents, who’ve saved everything from my childhood, just pulled 2 cheetahs (different models) out of their attic for my daughter to ride. I will have several pictures soon and will post them.

Jason May 20, 2008, 2:12 am

I hade a vehicle very like the Cheetah when I was a kid. It was way faster than a Big Wheel, but a challenge on the hills where I grew up. I believe it was called a Spitfire, like the Cheetah it’s front tire was smaller than the Big Wheel, and it was rear wheel drive by chain. My dad disassembled it long after I outgrew it to make it into a soapbox derby car for my brother. It was much bigger than a Big Wheel, red and I can’t find information or pictures of it anywhere- Any ideas?

Carmin Gallo September 10, 2008, 2:15 am

The cheetah rocked,my father still has it in the shed he’s been saving it for my son who’s 2 now, I think I was about 5 when I recieved it for chrismas there’s a photo of me asleep under the chrismas tree lying next to it.I wore down those plastic tires till they split,I used to get it going and get it into a power slide, I never had a problem with my drive mechanism its still intact,my father is still trying to find tires for it.I didn’t know so many people had the cheetah I was the only one in my neighborhood.I hope someone is trying to bring it back! maybe I’ll work on fabricating a cheetah II.I’ll let you know.

Jon November 8, 2008, 4:48 am

Looking to purchase a Cheetah for my son. I had one when I was 5 yrs old and that ride was awesome. Please email me back jonathan.jarvis@comcast.net if you have one and are open to selling. THXS

John Eddie Brown Jr. November 30, 2008, 9:19 am

Wow I had one when I was a kid, I had to explain the thing to friends. I had mine till ’83 and me and some friend tried to breath new life into the thing for one last demo before I got rid of it but no luck, couldn’t get it going.
But yes if you were really fast on your pedels you could get a Cheetah’s to between 25-35mph easely catch a guy bike, I would give them head starts…one min head starts and catch them. I soooo wish these fantastic tricycles would come back.

chevis tobe December 21, 2008, 6:26 pm

I had a CHEETAH too, man that was the baddest toy ever created. We usd to live at the bottom of a slight hill on the corner. I can still remember riding top speed down that hill and hanging that corner and hearing my mom telling me to slow down or i was gonna kill myself. I never made the attempt to slow down. The two didnt fit together, slow down and CHEETAH. couldnt happen!!!!! I would love to find one for my daughter like her dad, is a speed freak…..

JOHN VOSS November 2, 2009, 1:41 am

I got a cheetah pedal chopper trike when i was just a boy and the whole summer and fall,i drove my father up the wall bugging him to have it from santa.Thank god santa brought it.Know i would really like to find one for my little girl.Someone please be her santa.I will buy it from you.I perfere you call me on my cell.641-660-1664 or if you wish please email me.THANK YOU EVERYBODY READING THIS,JOHN VOSS

Paul Kersey November 13, 2009, 4:55 am

I have finally found ‘cheetah world’ … my son Don was a demon on wheels on his cheetah. I had such a blast just watching him spin 720’s and beat any big wheel on our block. So great to see the pics on the blog: http://cheetahridingtoy.blogspot.com
I would sure love to buy one or more for my grandkids (9 and growing) …. or be a part of see this reproduced. If anyone makes an effort I can join please write me … thanks Paul

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